Daniel Pink’s study is surprising because it questions via scientific studies the dominating paradigm on motivation: if you want exceptional results you motivate people by a juicy bonus and you will obtain results. We are not horses: the carrot and the stick do not work if what you need is talent in movement. Pink concludes that motivation comes from three factors: autonomy, purpose and skill.
Pink’s study proves that the carrot works when the task is very mechanical and does not require creativity or skill, that is to say, the mind at work. Pink goes further and affirms that the carrot for from motivating actually demotivates creating the opposite effect: the greater the incentive the less the gain! The reason is that the focus is put on the money instead of the task, the only place where you can really be motivated.
One maximizes performance by eliminating the carrot from the equation (paying fairly) and generating a culture that is propitious to autonomy and personal improvement, canalizing the energy towards a purpose that gives direction and energy for action.
I recommend you watch Pink’s video illustrated by RSAnimated: Drive, The Surprising